The First Leap Program (First Leap) is an entrepreneurial readiness program for startup and emerging creative businesses coordinated by Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship (CWE) and Bridgeway Capital’s Creative Business Accelerator (CBA).
Whether they identify as an artist, maker, designer, or craftsperson, creatives often enjoy sophisticated skills in making. But the business skills needed to turn a passion into a livelihood often remain underdeveloped. First Leap provides creatives with the capability and confidence to become business owners ready to realize financial resilience and social impact. First Leap helps makers answer the question below:
- Are you a maker with a product or process ready for the market?
- Is your creative business stuck as a startup, but you want to grow?
- Are you ready to “take the leap” and turn your creative practice into a creative business?
- Can technology help your creative business become more cost-effective?
Through an application process, First Leap supports 12 emerging creative businesses and guides them through an intensive, yet supportive, 7 month program delivered in 2 phases. Guidance is delivered by experts in business fundamentals as well as experienced creative business owners. Participating entrepreneurs work closely with business coaches and peer mentors to hone the skills needed to build sustainable and impactful creative businesses. First Leap culminates in a virtual presentation where participants articulate their plans for growth and highlight the creative outputs that will get them there. The CBA then works with participants over a 6 month period to help their goals become reality.